It’s been a good long time since we did a CHUD List, having tackled Underdog movies, Kills, and other stuff in our past either here or in the long dead MOVIE INSIDER magazine. Well, we’re back because we know how much fun they are to read and how great the discussion is for these things. I’ve opened up the books a little, allowing for a sort of “CHUD List Academy” to be formed, a conglomerate whose participants will change from list to list. Some names will be familiar, some won’t. The end result will be something fun and sure to piss some of you off while making others say “that’s just how I’d have done it”. So, enjoy this first blast of 25 (out of 100, in no particular order) of the BEST BASTARDS IN FILM.
Note: Some Entries may contain spoilers. You’ve been warned.
#100 – Matthew McConaughey
It’s not how much screen time you have, it’s what you do with it. As Buddy Deeds, Matt doesn’t have a lot of screen time but he does wonders with it. Wonders, I tell you. He plays the long departed father of Chris Cooper’s main character, a deputy who may or may not have been involved in the murder of the leather animal known as KRISTOFFERSON and he’s nothing but oily sexiness and syrupy danger with a Texas drawl. He’s a bit corrupt, a bit moralistic, and one heck of a bastard but at the end of the day he’s the guy you want to be. Great flick, by the way.
Perfect Bastard Moment: Seeing him kicked back and ruminatin’, a tall drink of aloof menace. - Nick Nunziata
#99 – Alfred Molina
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
Perfect Bastard Moment: Seeing him emulate Indiana Jones’ slick moves in anticipation from afar, knowing that he’s not worrying about his companion’s safety but rather planning where on his mantle a golden head would look best. - Nick Nunziata
Perfect Bastard Moment: He has his high profile officer Jack Vincennes over for a little tea, but never even asks “would you like bullets with that?” before hastening his appointment with ol’ Charon. Rollo Tamasi and a legend is born. - Nick Nunziata
THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY
IN THE COMPANY OF MEN
Chad the Cad may be the nickname Neil Labute’s vicious and manipulative debut film character earned but he’s a borderline role model in the way he pummels the souls of Stacy Edwards and Matt Malloy into a mist with such utter glee. In the real world, he’s a snake that needs to be dealt with but onscreen he’s a joy to watch with his brutal and frank oibservations about relationships and the way everything in his life is a war. It doesn’t hurt that Aaron Eckhart is as good in the role as a fighter pilot is at challenging the jetstream, surgeons are at slicing out appendixes, and whores are at sucking a john into a temporary Valhalla. It’s pure and wonderful bastardation and if there were no repercussions we’d all love to be Chad if just for a day.
You can’t have a bastard list without Bruce McGill.
And Dan Darnell was one of his best bastards: a misogynistic, egotistical, sexually harassing high school football coach (is there any other kind?) who doesn’t shy away from tripping an opposing player when they’re running down the sideline.
DAZED AND CONFUSED
In a world where everyone is trying to get high and laid — in that order — O’Bannion’s main goal was spanking young boys.
He’s the kind of guy that when he was a kid, he tied his mom’s cat to an oak tree, blindfolded it, put a lit cigarette in its mouth, and blew its head off from twenty paces with a shotgun.
He fucked his own sister.
Knocked her up and watched her commit suicide. He stuck a guy in prison for 15 years without letting him know why. He killed the guy’s wife. Killed his best friend. And he manipulated the guy into fucking his own daughter.
When you’re super-rich, you can get away with anything.
FULL METAL JACKET
A cold-hearted killer. But he did have a sense of humor.
Perfect Bastard Moment: “All fucking niggers must fucking hang.” – Kirby Drummand
Guy is an actor. A struggling one. So he aligns himself with a bunch of Satan-worshippers and lets them blind the lead in a play where he’s the understudy, thrusting him right where he wants to be. He follows this up by getting his wife drunk and letting the devil himself rape her, impregnating her with his evil spawn. Then he lets Rosemary carry the child and calls her crazy when she thinks something is wrong inside of her. Husband of the year material.
Perfect Bastard Moment: “What are you talking about? You look great. It’s that haircut that looks awful.” – Kirby Drummand
#90 – James Woods
Woods probably deserves to be on this list at least a half-dozen times, but his depiction of a ruthless hitman with a story to tell is tops. Tired of doing contract eliminations for a giant corporate entity, Woods’ Cleve decides to spill his guts and selects cop/novelist Brian Dennehy as his conduit, and spends most of the time just screwing with the guy’s head for his own enjoyment. And killing people, very much. While wearing stylish 80s wardrobe!
#89- John Travolta
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
Narcissistic, racist, libidinous, cocky, dim-witted’ that’s Brooklyn mook Tony Manero, the “hero” of Saturday Night Fever, a 14-carat jerk who treats women only as semen receptacles and learns his life lessons the hard way. But he can boogie like none other, looks fantastic in hang-glider collars, and whenever he walks the Bee Gees start playing… the practical value of which is unimaginable to most mortals.
Perfect Bastard Moment: Jeez, pick just about any moment where Tony interacts with a member of the opposite sex (“It’s a decision a girl’s gotta make early in life, if she’s gonna be a nice girl or a c*nt”). Hell, it made Travolta a screen icon. Suck on that for a while. – Dave Davis
#88 – Joe Pantoliano
Another guy with an impressive Bastard pedigree (particularly on the Weasel end of the spectrum), Joey Pants’ turncoat Cypher makes the grade thanks to unnecessarily complicated facial hair, a strong desire to be inserted into a goop-filled tube, and a gleeful willingness to transform his shipmates into brain-dead husks or charred flesh-piles. Add more Asshole points for not finishing the job on Tank, perhaps the worst on the Nebuchadnezzar’s crew of questionable actors.
#87 – James Karen
Bastards in suits are even worse than regular ones. They flash their toothy grin, tighten their package while shaking your hand, even swap out the headstones, just the headstones, for a little greedy community development action. Although his prolonged entrance into the Freelings’ life it’s a little muddled, once the full reveal of his cemetery relocatin’ ways comes into view, it’s clear that this man is an ultimate bastard in a suit. What? You have the flu? Too bad. We’re starting Phase Five right here we’re were standing. Interested? You should be, ’cause Mr. Teague achieves his Asshole status simply because he tricked the whole neighborhood into moving above a giant pool of rotting flesh. Bravo, you bastard asshole, bravo.
Perfect Bastard Moment: Ignoring all of the signs of a poltergeist (the piano moves on it’s own! The outside light goes supernova!) just so he can reassure Steve (T. Nelson) that everything’s ok and that his plans for middle-class white valley supremacy can go on. – Newell Todd
#86 – Larry Hagman
MOTHER, JUGGS AND SPEED
You definitely don’t want any jerky motions around this bastard, because while you’re bouncing up and down in his Ambulance, he’s probably trying to check out your coccygeal joint. On his quest to find the great slimy skin folds that actually will date his skeezy member, Murdoch’s just reachin’ out, trying to touch, well, anything that makes his pants go boom! From his sleazy 70’s leisure suit to his Cat Stevens concert tickets, this asshole makes everything look like it did during college en vogue all over again. Constantly passing the blame, he rushes everything harder than J. Fox and Woods combined, although be careful, because if you don’t bite back, you’re most likely “a lesbian.”
Perfect Bastard Moment: Every scene is a triumph of the bastard will with Murdoch, but the one that really stands out is when he attempts to slide his man-sausage into a comatose college co-ed. What a douchebag. – Newell Todd
#85 – Henry Fonda
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST
The west can change a man like no one’s business. Just ask John Candy. Don’t be fooled by your previous conception of the man known for being just three licks away from the moral center of your Tootsie Pop. Hank Fonda’s piercing blue eyes destroy the landscape with their pleasantness and his itchy finger on the trigger signals your meeting with your friends with the puzzlebox in hell. The dusty dirty plateaus of the west carry many Bastards with the wind, but Fonda’s Frank is one of the greatest. He’s driven by several factors: money, women, killin’ and figuring out who Harmonica is. All of them make Frank a conflicted man, a bastard cad with raw and evil problems. But make no mistake; this is one mean and disagreeable icon of cinema, a man who keeps appointments and doesn’t make them.
Perfect Bastard Moment: It’s tough to choose just one, but the most shocking has to be when he sends the young and innocent Timmy McBain child to his death, courtesy of a nice bullet to the head. – Newell Todd
#84 – Orson Welles
TOUCH OF EVIL
It’s when you get a cigar-chomping Bastard with a badge behind him when the fun really starts. Welles’ Quinlan is one of the quintessential bastard cads, conflicted from a lions’ share of heartbreak, and angry at everything that isn’t his own. As he makes his largely grotesque entrance into the murder investigation on the American side of the border, Quinlan emerges from the landscape sweaty, almost drunken and unshaven, kind of like a night at George Peppard’s house in the hills. Accusations fly back and forth, and through it all Quinlan manages to keep his eye on the ball, cunningly and bastardly. He’s got his own plans, that don’t involve Vargas, and he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do. Lying, cheating and stealing are all in the cards, that is, unless Marlene Dietrich says so. What kind of a man was he? He was some kind of a man, that’s all I know. Adi’s.
Perfect Bastard Moment: Kidnapping Janet Leigh and luring ‘Uncle’ Joe Grandi into a nondescript hotel room under false pretenses. All for the explicit purpose of murdering Grandi and framing Leigh with the murder. What a cad! – Newell Todd
#83 – Tim Holt
THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS
When you’re a bastard straight outta the womb (or outta Compton), the scandalous things you do come easy. Nolte knows. This princely terror has the balls to do just about anything, except that he does it all wrong (but it feels all right!). From telling Isabel how their relationship is going to plan out from telling her own father off in a huff of rage, this bastard does it all in upper crust style. Hell, he even has the whole entire town of Indianapolis wishing for his come-uppance! That’s definitely something to write home about, if he didn’t live with his mother (like most of you think we still do). As the spiral begins decomposing itself downward into someplace no one has any idea where, the bastardness of George Amberson Minafer remains the one true rock solid ideal in a sea of change.
Perfect Bastard Moment: Relying on his skewed Oedipus complex, George telling Eugene that his automobile is a “useless nuisance” in order to get him out of their lives, ranks high up the bastardonometer. Most of you probably don’t care anyway! – Newell Todd
#82 – Alec Baldwin
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS
A thesp like Alec Baldwin can basically run the entire gamut of cinematic characters with nary a hitch (well, maybe not beefcake). But I think the most rewarding and simply awesome kind of guy we dig watching him play is the cinema bastard. The man was born to play these types of roles and nowhere is that more evident than in this Mamet-written masterpiece of broken salesmen. Baldwin starts off simmering’ kinda calm, always cool. But when the moment comes, the man simply explodes into this perfect elitist prick of verbal lethality. Bastards tend to be unlikable cocks who you’d love to see get their just desserts, yet Baldwin somehow manages to be just that right kind of scumbag that makes you ache for the spin-off film, Blake Begins, right then.
Perfect Bastard Moment: Moment? It’s hard to choose (and that’s with like 10 minutes of screen time). There’s too many. But if I had to pick one chunk of dialogue that not only makes me laugh out loud but personifies a dark side that sometimes I wish I possessed, it’d have to be where Mr. Baldwin verbally castrates an unsuspecting Ed Harris: “You see this watch? That watch costs more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see, pal’ that’s who I am, and you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? FUCK YOU, go home and play with your kids.” Booyah, Bastardo! – George Merchen
#81- Paul Reiser
Though often thought of as an unlikely star to share screen time with the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, and Bill Paxton in one of film’s best sci-fi actioners, ’90s comic Paul Reiser reises to the occasion and pulls off one of the slimiest, most pathetic, and anger-provoking bastards around. I mentioned before about guys you’d love to see get theirs and rarely is that ever more satisfying than when our good (but hostile) friend Chad Xenomorph helps introduce pant-shatting Paul to his heavenly maker. Good riddance, asshole!
Perfect Bastard Moment: Protecting your surrogate daughter while trying to avoid becoming a uterus at the hands of one of those pesky facehuggers can be a mite tough. It certainly doesn’t help when smarmy tool Carter Burke decides to cut the camera monitor as Ripley desperately pleads for some Marine aide. He’s got another moment later on that’s kind of bad, but it’s here where we as an audience first become really filled with RAGE at the sneaky actions of the former Mad About You star. Yeah, more like Mad At You! (Lololol!1!1) – George Merchan
#80 – Robert Duvall
The man is BADASS. From the moment we first lay eyes on the man, Coppola makes damn well sure we know this. He struts around sporting a Stetson, striking poses, and worrying about nothing except getting in some good ol’ surfing. He’s that military bastard type that we’ve all come to know by now, but has that little extra something that makes him seem pretty much untouchable. He doesn’t give a damn about anything. Except surfing. He endangers himself and his men as he leads them into a particularly hairy section inhabited by the Vietcong just to get a load of this perfect beach with its awesome waves. Bastard? Oh yeah. But the man’s got style and I dig it.
Perfect Bastard Moment: Shit’s still blowing up left and right near the company’s LZ. What’s the only thing pounding away at the mind of Col. Kilgore? Finding cover? Formulating an attack? Hell no! Surfing those killer 6-foot breaks, that’s what! His officer warns him that things are a bit hot for surfing. Kilgore’s reply: “What do you know about surfing, major? You’re from goddamn New Jersey!” – George Merchan
#79 – Malcolm McDowell
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
Alex DeLarge is about as big an asshole as they come. What disturbs me is that he’s human yet almost more sadistic than a whole legion of goddamn Cenobites put together. His playful nature combined with a complete emotional aloofness only adds to the disturbing nature of the mofo. He crushes a woman’s melon with a ceramic phallus and tries to get as much “tang as humanly possible. While I can”t blame him for the later, killing broads with penile home accessories is just plain MEAN.
Perfect Bastard Moment: I don’t think there are many moments more fucked up yet darkly comical (and I mean DARK) in cinema than when Alex (along with his droogs) invade the quaint suburban home of an innocent and unsuspecting couple and go on to beat the living crap out of the husband (all to Alex’s rendition of Singing in the Rain) before proceeding to rape the man’s wife right before his very eyes: “Viddy well, little brother. Viddy well.”
Bastard? Ya think?! – George Merchan
#78 – Peter Cushing
STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE
Do you know what you need to do in order to achieve the rank of Grand Moff? Well, neither do we! but it’s safe to assume that any job which lists “lifetime of Dracula hunting” as desirable work experience isn’t going to be suitable for the touchy-feely crowd. No, this is a job for someone with balls big and brassy enough to tell Darth Vader when to shut up. It also helps if you have a foul stench that can be recognised within moments of coming aboard a vessel. But Tarkin’s crowning achievement is the icily casual way he tests his enormous testicular battle station by reducing Jimmy Smits (and millions of other space Latinos) to off-screen atoms.
Perfect Bastard Moment: “You may fire when ready” – the greatest “psyche!” moment in cinema history, and one that even four-year-olds can recognize as the hallmark of a Class A bastard. – Dan Whitehead
#77 – Bill Paxton
The quintessential asshole brother character, Bill Paxton’s endlessly punchable Chet immediately summons up images of decades of wedgies, Chinese burns and headlocks for anyone who suffered under the yoke of an elder sibling. Slimy and insecure, his inability to cope with minor incidents like bedroom snowfall without resorting to violence and threats marks him out as a squishy brown turd in the overflow pipe of society. And that’s just how he ends up. Never say John Hughes doesn’t do irony.
Perfect Bastard Moment: You’ve got a barely dressed Kelly LeBrock roaming the house, and what is Chet’s response? ‘I’m gonna tell Mom and Dad everything.” Asshole. Bastard bastard asshole. – Dan Whitehead
#76 – Karl Hardman
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
In true Romero style, selfish, racist, belligerent Harry isn’t just a bastard. He represents the bastard potential in all of us – the point where our need to fight for our own survival topples over into savagery and paranoia. Rather than working with the others, all he cares about is saving his own skin (and that of his family) and he’ll go to any lengths to ensure that happens – even if it means selling out your species. Naturally, his isolationist policy ends in tragedy when he gets shot, falls down stairs, comes back as a zombie and is shot again.
Perfect Bastard Moment: Hiding in the basement and not letting others into your refuge despite imminent zombie death? If that isn’t cinematic shorthand for “This man is an asshole and a bastard” we don’t know what is. – Dan Whitehead
#75 – Robert Carlyle
Perhaps the most terrifying and infuriating type of screen bastard, the real life nutjob. We’ve all known a Begbie at one point or other – the hair-trigger psycho who dominates the weak and easily led through sheer force of presence. From casually starting pub brawls with a discarded glass to berating a supposed friend as a “doss cunt” for forgetting a pack of playing cards, Begbie is the sort of guy you’d do anything to remove from your social circle. That his sheer malice is enough to make the simple act of picking up a bag one of the most heart-pounding finales to any movie is merely the icing on a big bastard cake. With asshole cherries.
Perfect Bastard Moment: Dealing with ineptitude on the pool table by inflicting bloody mayhem on the face of the nearest innocent bystander. You never saw Fast Eddie behave like that. – Dan Whitehead